By Ogova Ondego
Published March 7, 2014
As the world celebrates women on the annual International Women’s Day on March 8, residents of Nairobi shall usher in the event with critical analysis, music, dance and art.
Kenya’s house of heritage, Nairobi National Museum, is showcasing a 6 by 8 foot painting titled Wangari Maathai: A Lady of Commitment.
The painting is dedicated to Prof. Wangari Maathai who, through her Greenbelt Movement and care for the environment, won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.
“In honouring Maathai’s activities and achievements,” NNM says in a media statement, “the masterpiece becomes a great source of inspiration for change and reflection on the economic, political and social achievements of women.”
The painting is set to remain on display at NNM for 12 months.
But before then, Alliance Francaise shall in the evening of March 7, 2014 set the ball rolling with a 120-minute panel discussion examining the state of female in justice in Kenya.
“This forum shall focus attention on issues of justice for survivors of gender violence and how to end the rampant impunity,” Alliance Francaise says.
The discussion is presented by One Billion Rising Kenya, an organisation described as being all-inclusive, non partisan group working to address impunity and the lack of accountability as significant factors in the perpetuation of violence against women.
Coming hot on the heels of the discussion shall be a concert ushering Gargar, an all-female quartet from Garissa in north-eastern part of Kenya, on stage.
Gargar, that means coming together in Somali, is said to be part of larger Somali women’s self-help and economic empowerment group.
Gargar shall not just be delivering its contemporary folk tunes to the arrangement of traditional Somali music to modern rhythms With a touch of Horn of Africa sounds; they shall be celebrating the feat of being the first Kenyan group to participate at the 10th Babel Med World Music Festival in Marseille, France (March 20-22, 2014) where they have been nominated for the 5000-Euro Orange Award and the World Music Award at the Couleurs du Monde Festival in Brittany (March 27-30, 2014).
As with true African celebration, there is no entry fee in joining Gargar on stage.
The evening of March 8 shall throw together women artists in a two-part production bringing to stage a diversity of artistic skills in performance poetry, spoken word, femcee, hip hop, rap, neo-soul and afro-fusion.
The two groups are Sauti za Mabinti: The Voice of Women that empower and promote young female artists and Kike Tele that collects and tells stories about women.
Sauti za Mabinti’s presentation, The Phenomenal Woman, shall be emceed by Anitah Raey, poet and presenter with Nairobi’s Ghetto radio on the Niaje Niaje programme; performers include Her-She, Latisha aka Laty, Shikow Femi One, Samantha M-ill, Vivian Kenya, Basilica Wairimu ‘Taamic’, Lilian Ayanga aka Pluto and Judy Ogake aka Sugar.
Kike Tele’s The Edge of Womanhood, a performance piece scripted to explore stereotypes about women, shall feature Mwende Ngao, Rein, Raya, Amare Poete and Namatsi Lukoye.
Again, the entry fee is just one’s ability to be present at the celebration.
On this International Women’s Day (IWD), too, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) joins forces with international and regional partners in launching the annual Women Make the News (WMN) initiative on the theme, ‘Advancing Global Partnerships to Achieving Gender Equality in and through Media.’
This, says Laura Sansalvadore of UNESCO, is a direct follow-up to the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) and a first step towards its implementation.
Launched annually on the occasion of the IWD, Women Make the News is a global initiative aimed at raising awareness on the issue of gender equity in and through the media, driving debate, and encouraging action-oriented solutions until global objectives are met.